Tomas Maier

PARIS — Kering is to end its partnership with Tomas Maier in his signature brand, and cease its business operations, WWD has learned.

The development comes a few weeks after Maier parted ways with Kering-owned Bottega Veneta, where he served as creative director over a storied and fruitful 17 years.

It is understood the winding down of the Maier label will affect between 20 and 30 employees. Its two Manhattan stores — one on Madison Avenue, the other on Bleecker Street — are expected to go dark at the end of the year, along with e-commerce.

Writing appointments for the resort 2018 and men’s spring 2019 collections have been cancelled and it is understood the next collection probably will not be produced.

Kering confirmed the shutdown to WWD in a brief statement, noting that, “Mr. Tomas Maier remains the owner of the Tomas Maier trademark” and that the group “would  do its best, over the next few months, to safeguard employment, in coordination with local unions.” 

Parent of luxury brands including Gucci, Balenciaga, Saint Laurent and Boucheron, Kering recently disclosed it is in talks to sell its shares in Christopher Kane back to the namesake designer, ending a five-year attempt to transform the London fashion wunderkind into a luxury brand.

The French conglomerate, which is positioning itself as a pure luxury player, has also spun out of the group its stake in Puma, and is selling its holding in Stella McCartney back to her.

Kering invested in Tomas Maier in 2013, describing a joint venture with the designer to develop his brand, founded in 1997 and known primarily for swimwear, knitwear and jersey.

The partners expanded the product range to a complete lifestyle assortment, dovetailing with its leisure-oriented spirit.

Financial terms were never disclosed, but it is understood Kering held a significant stake in the Florida-based company, infusing it with the capital needed to ramp up expansion.

At the time of the investment, market sources estimated the brand generated revenues of below $10 million, and was wholesaled to about 100 doors, including specialty and department stores.

The brand had recently fortified management, tapping Gautam Rajani from Diane von Furstenberg as global director of sales and business development. Last summer, Laurent Claquin, head of Kering Americas, took on the additional role of ceo of the Maier brand. He is to remain in the former role.

“I am looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” Maier said.

Under Maier’s watch, Bottega Veneta revenues swelled from around 50 million euros in early 2000 to nearly 1.2 billion euros in 2017. However, the brand lost momentum in recent years, prompting Kering to initiate a change in creative leadership. It tapped 32-year-old Daniel Lee, most recently director of ready-to-wear at Céline, to succeed Maier. He starts July 1.

Maier had been one of the longest-serving creative directors at a European brand.

Born in 1957 in Pforzheim, Germany, Maier trained at the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. Before joining Bottega in June 2001, he worked for Guy Laroche, Sonia Rykiel, Revillon and Hermès.

At Bottega, he mapped out the core values: fine-quality materials, extraordinary craftsmanship, contemporary functionality and timeless design. Maier also affirmed that Bottega would return to its logo-less heritage, conveyed in the famous slogan, “When your own initials are enough.”

It is understood Lee’s mission at Bottega is to widen the audience for the brand, and further grow its ready-to-wear business.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus